My origional goal for the summer was to hit at least one theme park every month from May till Oct., but because of car trouble and an overall lack of funding, I had to skip Beast Buzz in June, and my Cedar Point trip in July was pushed back to Aug. 17 in order to spend that day with friends that will be up there the same week. I also ended up skipping past Dollywood in late July because I didn’t get down there in time, and I didn’t really have the cash anyhow.
All that aside, I was determined to get to Kings Island at the beginning of August. I hadn’t been to the park since my 8th grade field trip in 1994, so it had been just over a decade since my first & previous trip to the park. Since I ended up having a 4 day stretch off of work, I decided to use that to my advantage. I had thought of going to Coney Island in Cincinnati the evening before, but had a grueling trip to OH, and when I arrived, all I wanted to do was sleep.
Driving by the park right before it had closed for the evening was cool. I was able to watch the fireworks, get a look @ Son of Beast, and watch Drop Zone cycle a few times. I had discussed meeting up with +Danny from The Buzz online a few times, and though we were gonna meet that evening, I had to get some sleep, so I went to the Kings Island Campground, got my lot, set up my tent, and went to sleep after my 6 hour trip to Kings Mills. The next morning I couldn’t sleep past 6am (trust me, that’s not my normal wake up time).
I took a shower popped some Ginger pills and Bufferin for the pain and nausea that I didn’t want to exp., and since I was up, I figured I’d go over to the McDonalds around the corner and have some biscuits and milk for breakfast. After that, I went back to my tent to lie down & make a few phone calls before I went over to the park. Thankfully the Campground is right beside the park. I could have waited for the shuttles to start running, but I figured I could use a morning walk to get me going, and headed over to the entrance.
Getting in was easy. The security lady that checked my bag was friendly, and using my pre-bought E-ticket from the internet made getting into the park very easy. This is what I did for May’s trip to Carowinds, and it looks like the way I’ll be doing things from now on! There were a few people gathered around the park waiting for the ropes to drop. I got in the park a little after 9:00am and went over to the entrance to the Paramount Action Zone, where I waited for almost an hour, watching Drop Zone, Delirium, and Face/Off test.
By 10:00am, the crowd had grown. I had been told by Danny to hit Face/Off first, then Drop Zone, but I went around the long way, and decided to Skip Face/Off for now and head straight to Drop Zone.
Drop Zone: I had the first ride on Drop Zone for the morning. No wait and it was off in just a matter of about a min. This was to be the tallest drop tower for me, as I skipped Giant Drop @ Six Flags Great America because of the large line and low capacity. Going up the tower is the worst thing. I was hoping for a rotating gondola, but it just wasn’t ment to be. It seems to take forever to get to the top of this thing, and it’s almost like you end up at the top for a min., but that’s just because the movement to the top slows so much. And just when you start thinking “When is it gonna drop?”, you fall over 200’ to the bottom. Intense! So far my favorite drop ride, and a great start to a good day at the park.
After Drop Zone, I noticed that the entrance to Son of Beast was close. On the way, I had a short chat with some people talking about Drop Zone. I had heard a lot about this coaster, but wanted to form my own opinion. I headed over to the entrance (forgot to get a pic) and headed to the line for the front. There were only a few people in front of me. After about a min., the 2 people that I had talked to about Drop Zone were behind me in line for Sonny.
We talked about different rides and parks for the time we waited in line to ride. The ride op near us was also really cool, joining into the conversation as well. But just as I was only 1 train away from getting on, they had some problems. Apparently someone had hurled on the train and didn’t tell anybody. The sprayed off the train and sent it out empty. The 2 girls in front of me got the next train, and I waited for the empty to come back. When it came, they still were trying to decide if they were gonna let people in yet. The op asked me if I was by myself, and then went to ask the ride op if I could just ride in the train alone. I was all for that, but they just decided to let everyone on after wiping the seats out.
Son of Beast: (daytime) I love wooden coasters. I don’t even mind rough ones. But there is a lot of talk about how bad this coaster is. I wanted for the longest time to come and form my own opinion, so today was the day. There were 2 trains running with plenty of ops, and aside from the vomit incident, pretty fast dispatches. From the first drop out of the station to the top of the lift hill, everything was fine. I was enjoying myself, and anticipating the 200+ foot drop that was coming. I wasn’t disappointed with the drop, either.
It’s long, tall, fast, and fun. But after that comes the part that everyone complains about. Son of Beast is definitely rough. Bone/teeth jarring in some places as well. It’s got a great layout, but the trains definitely need work. The Helix was good, but very rough in my seat. The breaks just before the loop aren’t too hard, and the loop is smooth and blissful in the midst of an uber rough woody. On the mid-course breaks, the op had told me that I’d still be able to see King Kobra, a coaster that used to be at the park over in a field, and sure enough, it was there. I miss King Kobra, but oh well. The rest of the coaster was rough as well. There aren’t any points of air, but it could be an amazing ride if they’d do more than modify the layout and modify the trains.
New Trains, Please! I left the exit with my opinion: What could possibly be a top 5 woody with me is marred by rough trains. Let’s hope that one of these years the reported $5mill in upkeep will go to new trains.
After riding Sonny, I headed to finally get my long overdue ride on a classic that I had to miss the first time. It’s the one, the only, the original, daddy Beast. It was fairly easy to find The Beast as you can easily see Beast track painted to the ride. Kudos to PKI for that, they know what the people are coming for. On the way back, I saw Tomb Raider, made the mental note that I needed to try that next, and got in line for The Beast after getting a bit hung up with where the entrance was. I got into the station and noticed that the back of the train was a walk-on with 3 trains running and plenty of ops, so that’s where I went.
The Beast: (day time) The Beast is a legend. Any time something that isn’t human is around for 25 years that stands for something. On my first visit to Kings Island in ’94, I wasn’t able to ride The Beast because it had rained, so this was one of the reasons for my eventual return. You can’t be a real enthusiast until you’ve ridden The Beast. The coaster was running all 3 trains, so there wasn’t much in the way of wait times this early in the morning. When it was time for me to board, I got in, strapped myself in with the seat belt, and pulled down my lap bar.
First off, the lift hill is fairly slow. But once you are over that first hill, speed is the theme of this coaster. No, it’s not an airtime machine. No, it doesn’t have the largest hills. But The Beast is about speed while twisting and turning thru the forest. It was fast, fun, and defiantly worth any wait that you may have to endure to ride. Any ride that is that long is worth it. I loved the tunnel around the helix, though I thought I was going to lose my glasses, and the drops into the underground tunnels are awesome. A total out of control experience.
Next up, I figured that since I was near the entrance for Tomb Raider, I might as well get it out of the way, as I was curious, but I’m not a huge flat ride fan. After putting my stuff in a locker, I got in line. The queue is wonderfully themed. That, and its air conditioned, and very dark make for a wonderful feeling before you even ride the ride. We get into the first room with the announcer. I took a pic of the door and statues, and in a short while, we went into the pre-show room. The pre-show was really good, and again the themeing is spectacular. But we hadn’t gotten to the ride yet…
Tomb Raider The Ride: The only thing about Tomb Raider was that I had to take my glasses off for the ride. I may have been able to keep them on, but I didn’t want to chance it. Next trip to the park I will take some straps to keep them on. Even still, I can tell you that the effects and themeing on the ride are spectacular. The ice and lava are both really cool, esp. when you can feel the hot and cold. I was very happy with Tomb Raider, and could have actually ridden longer. It runs a program that is perfect for the effects, and it is now one of my new favorite flat rides, anywhere.
Since I had gotten used to the air conditioning on Tomb Raider, I decided to head over to the air conditioning on Flight of Fear next. I had ridden the one at Kings Dominion and loved it, so I was anxious to see how the two compared. It wasn’t that far, so I left my back pack in the locker and headed to Coney Mall.
Flight of Fear: Going under Racer to get to the entrance is cool, and the building is an exact match to the one @ Kings Dominion. I got in line for the ride, which was about a 20 min. wait, snapped some pictures, and waited for the front. The video had been changed since I rode the one @ PKD, and there were a few set pieces that had been removed, but it didn’t take away from the air conditioned experience. It had a two train op with the usual plenty of people working the ride. The ride ops weren’t as enthused as the ones @ PKD, but the themeing makes up for it, none the less.
I got in the front seat by myself, and away we go. The ride does seem a little faster than the other Flight of Fear. But there was something missing that I couldn’t quite figure out until I was headed home a day later. Though the lights were on, the music was off. I had heard that this coaster often leaves the mid-course break off, but it was not to be today, even though it still didn’t catch hard. Flight of Fear is, has been, and probably always will be one of my favorite coasters, no matter which one it is. Its fast paced, great launch, and has a nice inversion order. I missed the music, but the ride itself was great.
After my flight on a UFO, I went to get my back pack from the lockers around Tomb Raider, and to see what the Kids Sections were like. I also figured that I’d go and meet Danny, tell him that I was gonna go to a show @ 2:00pm, and that we could meet after that.
The Nick Central and Hanna-Barbera Land sections of the park are worth the awards they get. It was the most crowded I’ve ever seen a kids section of the park. Wish parks were like that when I was that age. I then went over to meet Danny. We talked about how busy it was over there, and how, though they already have 4, PKI needs another family/kiddy coaster (a mouse in the next couple of years, anyone?). I told him I’d be watching the Magic of the Movies Show, and that we could meet right after that since he got off work around 2:30pm.
After that, I was going in search of Subway, but passed by Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, which I had to ride, as I'm a huge Scooby fan. The line moved very quickly, and since I had ridden this as the Phantom Theater, I was excited to see how they compared.
Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle: Very nicely themed. The queue was air conditioned, and the line moved very fast. When it was my turn, I got a car to myself. I decide to do the ride Jon Woo style with 2 guns, and my combined score was 960. Not my best, but still “Like Wowie”. Much like the one at Carowinds, this is such a great ride.
Next it was almost time for food. I walked over to see if Sonny had a short line so that I could try it from the back, first, and since the line had grown immensely, I decided to take flight on Top Gun before I ate. I hadn’t been impressed with Top Gun the first time I rode it the year after its debut, but I was willing to give it another shot, and this was the first ride on any of the coasters I’d done when I was there the first time. The line wasn’t very long, and in the queue it was weird not going thru the entire themed section that we went thru the first time.
Top Gun: I figured I’d go ahead and wait for the front, since the line was only about 3 trains wait. It had a 2 train op, and plenty of people working the “flight deck”. I got in with another guy that was a single rider, and we departed the lift hill. This is still the only suspended coaster I’ve ever been on. People say how wonderful it is, but I couldn’t remember it being so great. I remember feeling disappointed the first and only previous time I rode 10 years ago. But wow how opinions change.
The ride looks almost exactly the same, with the exception that it has been painted and has Son of Beast next to it now. But its fast and fun, and I’ve decided to give it a much higher rating now that I’ve got a second go (something that would happen more than once today). I still like swinging on the break run best, but the coaster is intense and fun. I’m sure its much better than its predecessor, “The Bat”.
It was now around 1:20pm, and I had gotten quite a bit accomplished during the morning. I found Subway, and though it was the second longest line I waited in all day, the food was regular Subway fare. It was good, and after eating, I headed to the Paramount Theater to see Paramount Magic of the Movies Live.
Paramount Magic of the Movies Live: This is an incredible show! Much better than the standard shows I’m used to at parks, that’s why I rarely see them. Before it started, however, I was sitting in the front row, planning my next move and watching the stuff on the screen when one of the guys that does the show came and asked if I wanted to be IN the show. I agreed, and he took me to the reserved section for those in the show. My job was to be the Thunder sound effect for Sleepy Hollow, and I even got a costume.
They really do put on a good show. I would highly recommend this to anybody at a Paramount Park, as it will be something any movie buff will enjoy. I’d go into more details, but I don’t want to ruin a good thing for anybody. You will notice, however, that someone at Paramount enjoys poking fun at the likes of Britany Spears and Gigli. Good Stuff!
I headed back over to Beastie to see if Danny had gotten off yet, and he wasn’t there. I wanted to try for a quick spin on Scooby Doo’s Ghoster Coaster, but the line was long.
I talked to Danny on the phone, and we agreed to meet up with each other and ride Delirium. Again, I’m not a flat ride fan, and wasn’t looking forward to all this swinging and spinning, but Danny kept telling me it wasn’t that bad, so we got in line. We waited for 2 cycles and then it was our turn.
Delirium: Oh. My. Goodness. Another winner of a flat ride. It looks a lot more nauseating that it really is. You catch some really good air, and even going upside down isn’t that bad. This is in my number 2 spot for best flat ever. PKI knows how to pick ‘em, and I’m glad that I didn’t opt out of this one. Great Ride!
After Delirium, we headed over to see what the line for Face/Off was like. It wasn’t short, but Danny said that it would be the shortest I’d probably see it all day, so that was what we did next.
Face/Off: I had done Two Face before, so this wasn’t a new exp. for me, but I liked Two Face, so I didn’t want to pass this one up. We stood in line and talked coasters for a little more, and when it was time, we got in the middle starting backwards. Going up the first spike was short, and the release is great. I enjoyed the Cobra Roll and the following loop.
Going up the back spike facing the ground is rather unnerving. The bit of hang there is frightening as well, but all in a good way. We released, and then I experienced something I had only ever heard about, my first black out on a coaster. I hadn’t figured I ever wood, but during the loop, I completely blacked out till we were half way up the cobra roll. This was something I’ll never forget. Intense and extremely cool! Face/Off was a bit rough, but worth it just for a new experience.
Next, Danny had told me that he would show me how to ride Son of Beast without it being as painful. We went for the second to last seat this time…
Son of Beast: (again) A non-wheel seat is definitely better. We didn’t have to wait very long for our seat, and I have to say that it wasn’t nearly as rough as the first ride earlier that morning. I still get verklempt going by King Kobra, but this was a much better experience than the first time.
After we got off of Sonny, we passed by Adventure Express. This was another coaster I wasn’t impressed with at first. I think the problem is the anti-climatic ending, but I was willing to give it another go with Danny, so we got in line.
Adventure Express: There wasn’t a wait, and we sat near the back. The themeing is still as good as it was, but they no longer do the mist that I enjoyed the first time around. A 3 train op with 3 people working the platform was great on wait times. This seems faster than I remember. It has a fun little layout, and really makes use of the plants and trees. The on ride themeing is still very nice. I liked it better than the first time, and at least this time I knew what to expect for the ending.
Next was time for a ride on The Racer. This is a different layout that both Carowinds and Kings Dominion’s versions. We sat near the middle, as I had done the front on the backwards side on my last visit.
Racer (forwards): Racer was not having a good day. It was rough, and there wasn’t much in the way of air during the out and back course. It was running both trains on both sides, but didn’t seem to actually be racing. Oh well, maybe next time it will be as good as I remembered it.
I got a little queasy on Racer, and Danny had a headache from both Racer and Face/Off, so we sat down in Festhaus for a while in the air conditioned, dark room. We talked music, rides, and more. We sat there for quite a while, but then it was time for the Nickelodeon Celebration Parade. I wanted to see it, and Danny said it was really good.
Nickelodeon Celebration Parade: We stood right in front of the Eiffel Tower for the parade. This thing is great! I took pix of Rugrats and Sponge Bob. It was nice for a family to enjoy, but could have been about 10 min. longer, IMHO. Very nice Paramount, keep this kind of thing up!
Next up was a ride on Vortex, the other coaster I missed on my last visit. I was kind of not looking forward to all the inversions, but I wasn’t going to skip it this time.
Vortex: This has to be one of the best Arrow loopers. Ever! It’s not very rough, with an insane first drop and some very well done inversions. The batwing near the midway is really cool, and the placement of the on ride photo was cool as well. It looks like it would be a lot rougher, but the ride was good. I’m glad I rode it, esp. when I did because it went down for a while later.
It was now time to try again to ride some kiddy coasters. We did get onto Beastie near the back without a problem.
Beastie: I remember it being fun the first time I rode it. Thankfully, nothing has changed. It could produce a few more pops of air like the Scoobys at PKD and PCar, but still a fun Jr. Woody worth giving a shot.
Wild Thornberry’s wasn’t up and running at the moment, so we went to Runaway Reptar’s short line. I had done Carowinds version, so this wasn’t such a new experience for me.
Rugrats Runaway Reptar: The restraints are a bit more comfy. The ride itself isn’t as rough as I was led to believe. I got my credit, we sat near the back of a full train, and it was all good fun. Next please.
It was now time for Danny to head out. He was going to the movies at 7:00pm, and it was getting close to that time. We said our goodbyes, I took his picture, and he headed out while I headed to the train. At some point, however, I forgot that I was going to the Eiffel Tower next, so that never ended up happening. Oh well, I did it last time.
I wanted to go to Boomerang Bay, but that didn’t happen. I read that the water park closed at 8:00pm, but apparently that is only on the weekends. As I was arriving over there by train, they were closing that part of the park. There were a few things I wanted to do, but there’s always next year… Since it was so hot, I headed to White Water Canyon. The line looked deceptively short, so I got in line. I had to walk what seemed like a mile to find the end of the line, with my feet and shins hurting all the while. Then I found the end, and it was still about 20 min. from the platform.
White Water Canyon: This is a very wet rapids ride. I always enjoy them, and this was no exception. I don’t know that I’ve ever ridden one with a rotating platform, which was cool. We had a full boat, and though the waterfall wasn’t on, the ride cooled me down and was still lots of fun.
The sun was starting to set, so I went back to check on a re-ride for Tomb Raider. I got in line, but the line was longer than I wanted to wait, so I headed to La Rosa’s for a quick bite, and then to The Beast for a nite ride.
The Beast: (at nite) This is what it’s all about. I waited for the front of the train, and I’m glad I did. It was dark by the time I got on, about 20 min. later. This is much better when you can’t see where you are or where you’re going. The pitch black tunnels are awesome. Now I know why people talk so highly about The Beast at nite. Its Just that Good™!
The time was dwindling, so I decided to head back to the Action Zone. I wanted to try Son of Beast at nite. I got a mid-train seat with no wait, but it was a wheel seat, so it was rough. I ended up sitting next to a fairly hot blond for the ride. On the return trip, the fire works started going off, and since there wasn’t anybody in line for our seats (it was the second to last train of the nite), we stayed on to watch the fire works from the coaster.
Son of Beast: (again and again) This was the worst seat. Very bone jarring/teeth chattering. But the ride has so much potential. It needs better trains! I still enjoy it, and it was better at nite, but give me new trains, and it could be a top 5 woodie for me.
It was now time to go back to the camp site. I had to wait a long time for the shuttle, but I was in no shape to walk. I probably could have done a quick drop on Drop Zone, and wish I had, but oh well, there’s always next year.
The park is great, and I can’t wait to see what the new ride will be. I only have 3 real regrets. I didn’t steal a kid for Taxi Jam, which was a different layout, I didn’t get to do my Boomerang Bay stuff, and I totally forgot to get any blue ice cream. That’s my biggest regret.
I kind of wish I would have done Racer Backwards, but at least I’ve done it before. I ended the day tired, and in pain. But I never got sick, and it was all worth it.
Edit: formatted to paragraphs/bold/italics, etc. *** Edited 8/6/2004 9:44:43 PM UTC by TeknoScorpion***
You made an interesting statement about The Bat.
I remember The Bat as a wild, mind-altering experience. Howwever, at that time we had wood and basic steel loopers/corkscrews and that was it.
Was it really as great as I remember, or was it really just unique?
Great trip report! I feel just about the same as you do toward all of their coasters.
Glad you enjoyed your Drop Zone and Delirium 'gasms. lol
I wish you could have ridden the Racer backwards. That is the only way to ride it IMHO.
I love Tomb Raider also but I still wish it would do just a little bit more right at the end. Like flip around twice real quick or something. It leaves me wanting.
Glad you got to ride the Beast at night! What a blast!
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